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Musicians on song to fight diabetes

SINGER: Abigail Kelly

A TRIO of classical music performers will take centre stage at a concert in London this summer to help raise funds for the growing problem of diabetes in minority ethnic groups.

Principal performer, soprano Abigail Kelly will lead the Summertime Gala Concert at the world’s famous St John’s Smith Square in central London on Saturday, June 29.

She will be accompanied by viola player Adam Gibbs and pianist Jo Ramadan.

In a concert programme foreword, Prime Minister David Cameron wrote of the challenges associated with diabetes and offered his support to the forthcoming concert.

He said: “The Government is aware of the growing problem of diabetes in minority ethnic groups and is committed to stemming the rising incidences of diabetes by helping to improve people’s lives.”

The concert is the brainchild of Susan Haynes-Elcock, a diabetes healthy living coach who set up the independent social enterprise Diabetic Diva in 2010 after going through the trauma of a diabetic coma five years ago.

She is the author of Sugah, Sugah the Delcious Diabetes and Healthy Eating Cookbook.

Susan has also set up the community project Let’s Cook for Diabetes, which aims to educate and support others to better understand, control and manager their diabetes.

Baroness Barbara Young, CEO of Diabetes UK said of the concert: “This is an excellent opportunity to highlight the importance of the work carried out by social enterprises such as Susan’s that help people with diabetes to self-manage their condition by adopting a healthy lifestyle.”

Kelly, born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, has had many major operatic roles and continues to perform with the English Touring Opera.

She has been a featured artist with Opera South Africa and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, while also performing at recitals in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Montserrat.

Fellow performer and viola player Gibbs is just starting out on his musical career, having recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music.

He balances his time between teaching, freelancing as a violist and working at St John’s Smith Square.

The concert will include a range of musical pieces with some new arrangements. Among them are pieces from Chausson, Gershwin’s Summertime, Jamaican Rumba, Shostakovich, traditional spirituals and an arrangement of Jamaican folk songs by Peter Ashbourne.

Tickets at £10/£15/£20 are available from St John’s Smith Square box office at www.sjss.org.uk. The concert starts at 7.30pm

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